OPINION: The humorous aspects of aging

opinion john

Those of us who are collectively referred to as “seniors”, the “elderly” and a variety of other rather demeaning labels likely prefer to think that we are aging gracefully; however, quite often this is not the case.

Aside from the greatly increased number of aches and pains, diminished eyesight and hearing, we all have situations that are humbling, embarrassing and humorous. Most of us can also relate to often-misplaced cell phone, keys and glasses but some of our follies go beyond the norm and deserve to be shared.

A personal example of visual impairment comes to mind. My wife recently purchased several packages of gourmet sliced cheese. The cheese is packaged in clear, rectangular blister packs with black plastic bottoms.

For some odd reason, when she put the cheese in the refrigerator, she placed them upside-down, (she may not have been able to see which end was up, as she had recently had eye surgery).

As I made one of my usual evening visits to stare at the contents of the fridge waiting for something to pique my interest, I paused momentarily to silently question why my phone was in the refrigerator and who had put it there. Before embarrassing myself by asking my wife if she put my phone in the refrigerator, I quietly walked to the den to check to see if my phone was in its normal spot on the old steamer trunk we use as a coffee table.

My phone was indeed in its usual same location. I then returned to the fridge, this time with my glasses on, and realized that I had been looking at a pack of cheese. Later in the evening, I mentioned to my wife what I originally thought. She was quite amused.

Several coworkers who also fall into the category of seniors have recently shared similar experiences with me that are worthy of sharing with the public in hopes that these stories will make other seniors take pause and realize they are not alone in their mishaps.

One associate tells the story of her husband having to crawl up the stairs of their home to go to bed after having played a few aggressive rounds of tennis. This associate also admits to an all-too-often routine of rummaging through her home from the basement to attic in search of her glasses.

Another associate recently attended a meeting on the campus of Emory University and hospital. After the meeting, while attempting to return to her car, she missed the entrance to the parking lot where her car was. Seeking information, she asked the parking attendant in another lot for the best route to take to get to the lot where her car was parked. The attendant radioed a supervisor and my associate overheard the attendant saying, “I have an elderly lady who has misplaced her car, can you come help?” After a lengthy set of comical circumstances, my associate was driven to her car, asked if she was certain the car she identified as her was indeed her car and if she needed assistance returning to the hospital.
A friend tells a story of the day his wife came home from getting what she referred to as the best hearing aid available. The wife continued to opine about how good the hearing aid was and the husband—having heard enough—asks “Oh yeah, what kind is it?” The wife responded with “It’s almost six o’clock”.

These newly found challenges of growing older have a way of keeping us mentally challenged a bit also—as if they may be part of a master plan designed to keep us as mentally sharp as is possible. That’s my theory anyway.

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